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Tteokbokki (spicy ricecake stew)

One of the things I love about Seoul is that there is street food to be found in almost any corner of the city at almost any hour. Pojangmacha or “covered wagons” are typically unlicensed restaurants that spring up in back alleys and empty lots. I once went to one that you entered quite literally
Course Entree, Snacks
Cuisine Korean
Level Beginner
Main Ingredient Fish, Rice
Diet Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Pescatarian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oden broth (along with any leftover fishcake)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (see note below)
  • 1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 large clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 carrot julienned
  • 1 Daepa sliced at an angle (see note below)
  • 25 garae tteok (see note below)
  • 1 brick of instant ramyeon noodles (optional)

Instructions

  1. Soak the tteok in warm water for about an hour then drain.
  2. In a large flat bottomed pan or skillet whisk the broth, water, gochujang, pepper, honey, sesame oil and garlic together. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook for an additional 7-10 minutes or until the tteok are soft and the broth has reduced and thickened slightly.
  3. Bring the whole pan to the table so everyone can pick out the bits they like best. You can also optionally cook this at the table on a table top burner.

Notes:

Gochujang is a spicy Korean condiment that's made from fermented soy beans, glutinous rice flour and chili peppers. It's a blood red paste that typically comes in jars or plastic tubs and has a unique flavour that you really can't substitute with anything else. This should be widely available at almost any Asian grocery store.

Daepa are a type of scallion that are much longer and thicker than normal scallions, but they're not quite as fat as leeks. You should be able to find them in Korean markets as well as Japanese groceries where they go by the name of Tokyo Negi. If you can't find them, 3 regular scallions will work just fine.

Garae tteok are cylindrical rice cakes, similar to mochi, but they are much more dense and will retain their shape even after cooking for some length. Unfortunately there really isn't a substitute (mochi will have a much softer texture), if you have an Asian or Korean grocery near you they carry it.